Call centre standards

Is this what we have come to? Call centre staff wanting to be mean to us and we want to be irritated  by and mean to them? The comments under the clip are just as revealing. We have done this to ourselves. We have allowed technology to run a system which is not suiting either side in many instances. Some companies and organisations have very good and effective call centre procedures so everyone is happy . Others do not. Apparently there are no call centre industry standards and that is maybe something we should be looking at. ContactCentreCentral has an article about the myth of call centre standards:

“I wish such a formula existed. I even wish there was a standards body that published verified performance measures.  But there isn’t.  And there never will be. We refer to the contact centre as an industry, implying consensus and uniformity where it doesn’t really exist. The reality is that each contact center is unique in terms of the value it provides to the enterprise, unique in terms of the skill and knowledge of the management team and unique in terms of the centre’s culture”

Talkdesk has some benchmark statistics which would only come into play if the organisation or enterprise has competition. In that case , what appears to be happening is that people are taking the solutions into their own hands and that might work initially but then it will create yet another bottleneck as companies and organisations address the change in client behaviour. Britain has been working hard to address call centre issues because it is costing people time, money and their health. The  DailyMail published an article about what health issues lengthy call waiting could  possibly create. That is something which needs to be researched , established and dealt with in a society which rates work/life balance and wellbeing highly. MyfamilyclubUK has some interesting work arounds to avoid long call queue waiting. I certainly have never forgotten the time I was on Twitter while I was waiting in a call queue and I actually solved my query on Twitter with the help of that company while I was still waiting in the queue. I stayed in the queue and encouraged them to keep providing that social media service. Emails /voicemail only work if you get the call back or a response to your email which helps solve the issue. People are in call queues because they need to solve a problem. If it can be resolved off the phone then that will save time and costs. I am also in favour of the call back option. That works for me. I am happy if I know that I’ll get a call in an hour or whatever they say. That is helpful and I can get on with my life. Talkdesk also has an article on improving call queues. They believe it comes back to staffing but that may not be the case when it comes to an emergency or an unexpected set of circumstances which then has everyone on the phone. Call abandonment is often how companies judge the success of their call centre system. If, however, it doesn’t matter how many people hang up because they cannot get through , then that is not addressing this call centre problem. I think we do need to look at better ways of managing this. I think we need to use our technology options to help us. We can use texting, voicemail, email, chat, phone calls, social media. There are so many ways we can communicate these days. We need to clearly identify the issues and then clearly develop ways of stopping call queues of 20, 30 or 40 minutes. If the call is costing nothing, that is not an issue. I know people who leave the call on speaker phone and then jump to answer it when it’s their turn. Some numbers are expensive to call because of mobile phone costs or the cost of the number being dialled. I am not sure what holds places back from using the toll free 1800 numbers. In terms of social justice and equity it’s a sensible decision. I’d like to think we’ll resolve this call centre craziness we’ve brought upon ourselves . We need to start that conversation now.

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Call queue craziness

 

 

This is an interesting clip from Singapore. It identifies some of the man-made madness of call queues but it is a problem world  wide. I wonder which country has dealt with this effectively? It’s a situation we have brought upon ourselves with the advent of ubiquitous technology use and it’s something we need to address. The main problems seem to be :

Waits of 10 minutes or more. More is frequent.

Numbers – punching in option numbers, ID numbers, PIN numbers, passcode numbers

Verification of voice or secret word

Cost of queueing

Dropping out of the queue somehow

Having to constantly repeat yourself

There are a number of videos on You Tube which highlight both sides of the call queue . A customer rings because they have a problem. If they then have to pass through a series of hoops and then an interminable wait it can create anger and emotional issues. The call centre staff will then be dealing with someone who is not reasonable.

The other aspect is you can be offered an email option which only works when the email is responded to in person in a reasonable time frame. The automated responses acknowledges receipt but then you need to know that your query is being resolved. How long is a reasonable wait for an email response?

There are also time differences and language differences. Customers can be in different time zones which does have its impact and then they can be talking to someone who doesn’t understand them or they don’t understand the call centre person. Clear communication is central to effective problem solving.

We live in a complex world because we have technology and so many options. Next post I’ll look at some of the solutions.

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